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spelling advice/ no phonic argument.

(13 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 22:21:07

My 2 older dcs used to do a write cover spell thing If I can remember correctly but I can't remember how they did it, although it seemed to work well.
My dd struggles with spelling and is now H.ed. When at school she didn't have lists of spellings to bring home as they thought this didn't help the dc. I tend to agree with them there, as I read some research pointing to this.
She can't remember anything obvious from school how they learned. Sooooooooooooooo, how do I teach good spelling? She does lots of English and is a good reader, but writing is way behind. I do correct mistakes but need to do something more formal, help please.

learnandsay Tue 06-Nov-12 22:40:41

My daughter is only four and you might be forgiven for thinking that that is too young for spelling. But I've always drawn her attention to spelling from day one. So we call a knight a k-night we stress the k in knight and k-nees and k-now. That's to say we go out of our way to make a point about any irregular formation of English wording and to incorporate it into our reading, writing and speaking patterns. A bit like playing scrabble or doing I-spy all the time. So my daughter is growing up with knowledge about how things are spelled on a daily basis. She even tells me things about spelling.

steppemum Tue 06-Nov-12 22:51:46

Look cover write check is what you are thinking of.

Look at the word find a pattern, trace it with your finger
cover it up
write it down
check to see if you got it right.

It does work. Next question is which words to teach

several ways to choose:
1. basic 100 (or 200 ) words (you can find these on line somewhere)
2. choose words she has been using in her writing and can't spell, so words anr recent and relevant
3. if you are doing a theme or a topic, pick a word list connected to it and learn it as topic progresses.
4. do some work on connected spellings, begin with word groups right, light, might etc progress to more complex groups words beginning with tri- or bi- (explain their meaning too) also plurals add es or add s change y to i and add es (baby to babies). Progress on to roots of words and their spellings - define - definite - definitely This really helps with spellings as they see where words come from

hope something helps

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-Nov-12 23:04:54


Thank you for the suggestions. I have bought numerous work books for dd and to be honest although she does at least 1 or 2 pages a day, progress is minimal. I think I have the whole section from Waterstones and Smiths from y2 to y6 (she would be y4).
I'm not sure whether to panic, worry, or just find more and more resources to cover the same problem in more detail.
I can see how spending a significant amount of time on one area could be beneficial and haven't tried this yet, so here's hoping thanks again

steppemum Tue 06-Nov-12 23:48:36

hmm, ditch the work books. Make your own spelling book. make an alphabet book (one page each letter) when you have worked on a spelling then add it to your new word book/dictionary. Then when writing, you can refer her back to words she has learnt, and make her look them up and find them.

If you use workbook it is a chore and doesn't relate to her work. At school they are expected to learn words they have used and got wrong. Then it means something. At the end of the week, test her on what she has done. This doesn't have to be a 'test' just a review or what you have been working on. That way you will see if she os retaining them.

You need to choose words that are relevant (apart from 100 basic, which she will need to plod along at) So if she has used word rough, then learn that and also cough though etc and look at the different ways of saying them.

Don't forget that reading comes first, then they learn to write, then spell. At Y4 age I would expect her to know her basics and be working on more complex word patterns

also I used to say to kids, we correct spelling so everyone can read and understand what you have written, because your writing is so interesting it is a shame if others can't read it

morethanpotatoprints Wed 07-Nov-12 00:08:55


Will definitely put the books away and start the word book tomorrow morning. Many thanks. I know she is very behind in this area and believe she has dyslexia as I am/was severley dyslexic. I fell into the trap of buying the books and although they seem to work fine for maths supporting what I show her, it isn't working well for English at all. I'm not completely on my own with this as dh does what he can when he's free and English Grammar is his strong point.
Please for anybody reading this I have got PG quals and am qualified teacher in F.E, just experiencing problems with KS2 English.

steppemum Wed 07-Nov-12 00:25:05

If she is dyslexic, all the more reason for finding connections and patterns so the spelling make sense. English spelling is not nearly so random as we think. if you know where a word comes from you are half way there

go over to SN and post asking for help with spelling for dyslexic. They have loads of useful tips and experience, much more than me grin

have you tried tips like using coloured cellophane overlays for reading?

mummytime Wed 07-Nov-12 05:58:34

How old is she? If she gets to 8/9 then there are specific books that might help.

I would also avoid workbooks, they are often rather boring and repetitive; designed for revision not learning.

Saracen Wed 07-Nov-12 06:21:13

Is there anything which motivates your dd to do a lot of writing/typing? If so, then that alone might give her a big boost.

My dd (not dyslexic) became a fluent reader around the age of nine and her spelling began to improve considerably as she read more, but particularly as she wrote more. She does a lot of blog posts and participates in online forums on various subjects which interest her. At first it seemed as if she was asking me "how do you spell..." for almost every word she wrote. Now she's 12, and no longer needs me in the room when she writes. I'd say that her spelling is average for her age and still improving.

I also have an adult friend who is severely dyslexic. For a period of six months last year, she and I spent a lot of time working together on some letters she needed to write to various people to stop someone harassing her. She corrected her own spelling mistakes as I pointed them out, because I found her keyboard and mouse difficult to use. We both noticed a definite improvement in her spelling by the end of this period. Some words which had always troubled her are now well fixed in her mind. I don't really know anything about dyslexia so I was a bit surprised that this process helped her, since I've heard people say that dyslexics don't tend to pick spelling up by reading and writing alone.

Malaleuca Wed 07-Nov-12 06:59:00

"Look, cover, write, check' misses out a couple of critical steps for beginner spellers. First step is, say the word clearly, second segment the word into its constituent sounds.
Another important skill is being able to write the appropriate letters correctly, without too much racking of the brains.
Often mentioned on this forum is an excellent spelling programme for those having difficulties, 'Apples and Pears from
Make sure to get the Teachers Notes as well as the workbook, follow the TN directions. This takes away all the anxiety about what words, what sounds, what order etc etc.

Tiggles Wed 07-Nov-12 09:02:51

I have been using Apples And Pears with DS1 whose reading age was well ahead but spelling was dire. I don't have time to do it every day as it should be done, but even using it 2-3times a week it has already made a difference to his written work. So although it wasn't cheap it has certainly been worth it.

mrsbaffled Wed 07-Nov-12 09:23:36

Another book, similar to Apples and Pears, is Word Wasp. DS (8) has it on his IEP for SpLD in spelling and writing at school for 10 mins a day. I do it over the hols and it's straightforward. He types and uses spellchecher too.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 07-Nov-12 12:59:13

Thanks saracen and others.
I have been working with her this morning and their is definitely a problem.

I asked what this word said? lemonade.
We had so many versions and she didn't get it at all. If she was to read this in context there would be no problem. The frightening bit for me was her trying to break it down. Instead of saying lem on ade. She said urlum onade. So I asked her to sound each letter and apparentely L makes a sound like url. It has taken so long to do the simplest worksheet I need a lie down, I'm knackered.
I will definitely look at the suggestions given, thanks very much.

Hello saracen, I'm thinking maybe a few projects maybe something musical as she would spend hours trying to get it right then. She is so soul destroyed by English and thinks she's useless, thick and stupid. sad. I know this feeling only too well.

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